Port by another name – but which? A giveaway

In 2005, the EU and US reached a bilateral accord to end a round of negotiations that had lasted twenty years. One of the significant parts of the agreement was that American wines could no longer use place names such as Champagne, Chianti, or Port on new wine labels (for the complete list, see the press release).

While labels that had used the terms previously were grandfathered in, what’s a new wine label to do? Such was the problem that confronted Peltier Station, a winery in Lodi that wanted to release a port-style wine from Zinfandel grapes last year. They knew they couldn’t call it “port” so they decided to call the wine simply USB hoping that consumers would make the connection (aha!) with that and the USB ports found on computers. Just to drive the point home, the back label reads, in part “United States Bureau for trade signed an im____ant agreement with the European Union to protect ____ugal’s geographical indication of this type of wine….”

Peltier Station’s idea was clever and, after getting a mention on wired.com, the wine sold rapidly. But is there an equally clever name that producers of port style wine could call their product in general? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The top suggestions will be selected for your voting and the winner will win a bottle of USB ___, courtesy of Peltier Station. Take your time to think of an idea this week and next Monday; we’ll start the voting next Tuesday.

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38 Responses to “Port by another name – but which? A giveaway”

  1. Zuccardi in Argentina produces his own port wine called Malamado, that means Malbec a la manera de Oporto (Malbec Oporto’s style). Perhaps something around this line, Polizi, Port like Zinfandel 🙂

  2. I’d go with “Not Starboard” and use a nice nautical theme for the design. Maybe a tagline of “Not just any ____ in a storm.”

  3. Sorry, I didn’t notice you were asking for a general term so I wrote that up as a specific brand. Nevertheless, I nominate “starboard” to take the place of port on US labels.

  4. Quady Winery from California calls their Port Style “Starboard” wonder if they trademarked it.

  5. I’d like to see them go with “Fort”. It makes some sense and is a little cheeky.

  6. Dock – could be a computer or nautical theme…

    Peltier Station was very clever!

  7. Terra Blanca from Washington calls their fortified wine “Forte.”

    But continuing with the computer theme:



    MIDI (just because i’m a computer music nerd)

  8. Dock has already been mentioned. I’ll suggest:


  9. oh, and


  10. Well, it’s taking something from one place and transporting it to another, so why not ‘Teleport,’ or is having port withing the name a no-no?

    ‘Portal’ and ‘Portage’ also come to mind.

    ‘Plug’ is more or less a synonym for a computer port, but probably not an appetizing name for a wine.

    Serial ports come to mind, but a ‘Serial’ sounds like it should be served at breakfast. ‘Parallel’ might work.

    With the nautical theme, ‘Dock’ (or ‘Doc’) might work.

  11. If it were me, I’d skip the port name entirely and call them Tawny or Ruby, since these pretty much evoke Port anyway.

    How about Lusitania, the Roman name for Portugal? Or Lusit for short?

  12. The problem is that the TTB has gotten pretty reactionary in terms of what they will and won’t allow.

    *Anything* with the word “port”, even as a part of the word (like portal) has already been rejected. We did try “Pour’t” and “Pour-it” and got shot down.

    In fact, last I heard they are currently even disallowing the use of the word “fortified” on labels (which is surprising because that is the technical term for the process – might as well ban “malolactic”!). So I strongly suspect “fort” would not be allowed either. And I suspect “Forte” has been grandfathered in or it too would be disallowed.

    In the end we called our Touriga Nacional* dessert wine “Pig Stai.” I realize that may not be generic enough but if the industry wanted to use it I’d give it up 😉

    – Jeff Stai, Twisted Oak Winery

    ps: “Touriga Nacional” is not an approved varietal name, so we have to call it Touriga. Isn’t this fun?

  13. “Lisbon.”

  14. I vote for “Not Starboard,” Very cleaver and I like the “Not any _______ in a storm.”


  15. I’d call it p*rt

  16. I’d initially thought it would be fun to have all California fortified wines go through their final bottling in a city like Port San Luis and it would be kind to put the name of the city in a prominent place on the label. But poster el jefe says they’re pretty strict.

    So my suggestion: TROP. The marketing practically writes itself: “Good to the last TROP!”

  17. export

  18. I know a lot of wineries pick their grapes @ higher sugar levels so perhaps “BRIXY” (plural BRIXIES)? Brixies would kinda go along with the Australian use of the word “Stickies”.

  19. What comes to my mind is something like “Crimson Teleport” or “Teleport Rouge” – it takes you to places you have never been….

  20. How about “ersatz”?

  21. Peritage

  22. “Port Ahoy” – like a greeting to try a sip…..

  23. Another that comes to mind when thinking of a seaport – “Port of Peltier Station”

  24. To keep the tradition and the reasoning, it should be called: “Sea Traveller Vinho Fortificado” (fortified wine) – and to connect Portugal to the rest of the world, even if they don’t want to.

  25. Aruensis “Port”

  26. Counterport – as in “An alternative to port…”

    Rapport – as in a relationship with…

    Disport – as in “To make Merry…”

  27. ships landing

  28. Since port wine is typically known as a “sweet” wine what about “vino dulce” the spanish translation of “sweet wine” or “vin doux” the french translation of “sweet wine”.

    dbkagrayson2002 at gmail dot com

  29. It’s a name for a white port.

    white dessert wine

    Logo would be silhouette of skis or ice skates.

  30. ship reck

  31. Oforti – O since the Portuguese-made product be labeled Oporto in the US; forti short for fortified.

  32. I’m suggesting Trodden
    This would bypass trying to mimic the place it is produced and focus instead on the process. I quote from A Year of Wine (by someone we know) p. 33:
    “Nothing beats the human foot for crushing grapes for port wine…In tribute to feet everywhere,…mechanized crushers are actually built to emulate the human foot…”
    Trodden sounds elegant and appropriate with the modifiers it must take. Ruby trodden, tawny trodden, and so on.
    I also like the starboard suggestions. My slogan suggestion would be: If it can’t be port, it must be starboard.

  33. I may just be too late, but I’m going to try.

    This is an Opportunity to create a new name for the Port style, so why not call it, “Opunity.” Take the word “Port” away from Opportunity, and that’s what we all have left to work with.

  34. […] for visiting!What can we call port-style, fortified wine made here in America? Thanks to your over thirty suggestions, we now have […]

  35. PortU.S. or portus

  36. I love a challenge, so here’s my suggestions:

    Port-oh! / Oh-Port-Oh
    POSH-Port Out?! Starboard Home. I like the aristocratic connotation.
    Pour’t (pour it)

  37. Love the ideas…just a note: Starboard is trademarked. My parents found this out after labeling and marketing their “port.” The parent winery was kind enough to let them sell their existing labeled wine, but not market it under that name.

  38. Hey – how about “Celebrity Ennui” aka “Star Bored”? Too obscure?


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